Subject: catholic church
I am a Catholic myself, and I have no anonimity towards you. I saw the article entitled Rome and Eceumanism. In it you say that most Christians do not understand the true nature of the Catholic Churchand and you write all the reasons why- points I am very familiar with. I disagree. I have been listening to Christian Radio for 14 years and the one religion that always gets skewered is the Catholic Church by every radio I have listened to- from K-light in California to the Southwest Radio Network. If you do a google search on the Catholic Church its mostly negative. Hundreds, close to thousands of anti-Catholic shows, articles, etc. etc. are very present. When I visited my grandparents in Mexico an Evangelical Church handed me a Chick-esque brochure. The mindset of the 16th century reformers is alive and very well. History Professor Phillip Jenkins has called anti-Catholicism "the last acceptable prejudice" in America. You should actually write an article about how anti-Catholic should Protestants actually be. One radio station even told their listeners to break all ties with their Catholic friends. This is the ONE point most Protestants actually agree on. You have no worries. So much for loving your enemies.
TCE replies: 22nd September 2008
thank you for taking the time to e-mail us.
As made clear on our home page, we no longer respond to all e-mails due to other initiatives (and the very common nature of the attempted 'counters' from respondents).
You fail to make direct reference to any facts or Scripture, so your claim that you are 'very familiar with' the 'points' can hardly warrant your conclusion: 'I disagree.'
Try this with a mis-behaving child sometime. After you have told them why they should behave in a particular way (Biblically, we would hope) would you then accept their bald statement: 'I disagree'.
And would you then allow them, on the strength of that statement, to merely carry on behaving as before? Or would you explain why they should behave as you are telling them - or ask them why 'I disagree' is an unacceptable response?
All your comments have achieved is to demonstrate that you are indeed as ignorant about these matters as we described Roman Catholics and many 'orthodox' Christians to be!
Listing the many examples of ministries who warn against the errors of Rome merely emphasises that many are now telling the truth whereas, as we can easily prove, Rome managed to suppress the truth, by terror tactics akin to those used by Islam, in previous centuries.
Let us make it clear that we do not support or admire the ministries of many who virulently attack the faith you hold dear (as 'Chick-esque' type 'brochures' so often do) but, as we have written clearly on our home page (read the statement emphasising 1 Peter 3v8-17), we merely seek to examine every belief against the light of Scripture (the Bible as it exists in orthodox Christian circles, minus the Apocryphal works and the traditions of men added by traditions such as those of Rome).
You are claiming that these are 'anti-Catholic' views and, in one respect alone, this is true. The Bible, the genuine Word of God, is certainly 'anti-Catholic'. This is very easy to prove and, since we have written so many pages in response to the claims of other Roman Catholics who have mailed us, in the near future we will be adding these facts to our pages as we already outlined.
The claims of a 'professor' that only these 'anti-Catholic' prejudices are acceptable in the USA now is quite laughable, especially in view of the long history of racism towards coloured people and migrant workers from the South that still prevails in the USA!
When you know so little about us, and have clearly not read much from our site, you make it obvious how thoroughly you fulfil our description of the average Papal believer by claiming that we should write to inform 'how anti-Catholic ... Protestants [should] actually be.'
As anyone who knows the members of TCE will confirm, the emphasis of our ministry has always been to Biblically befriend and discuss the truth about the Lord Jesus Christ and His Gospel with anyone who will listen - and at every God-given opportunity.
Again, your blanket accusation that being 'anti-Catholic' is something that 'most Protestants actually agree on' makes you look extremely ignorant for, as we clearly explained, the majority of contemporary 'Protestants' actually think that Catholics are Christians - and therefore they would never break such ties! Here in Llanishen, Cardiff, most of the local churches - Roman Catholic and post-Protestant - are 'unequally yoked' (2 Corinthians 6v14) in a 'Churches Together' venture which sees them following the pattern described on our pages!
'So much for loving your enemies'? If you had ever done any proper research into the history of Rome you would know that you will never be in a position to make such an accusation against 'Protestants' - or anyone else - without inviting massive ridicule. Have you never heard of 'The Crusades', 'The Inquisition' or 'The Conquistadors'?!
Rather than expand on our clear teachings - which, as we wrote earlier, are exemplified by our e-mails to Roman Catholics - we enclose an excellent, and loving, article which clearly represents the difference between the real, Biblical, Jesus and the 'Jesus' of all other religions:
(with acknowledgements to T. A. McMahon and The Berean Call)
'And this I pray, that your love may abound yet more and more in knowledge and in all judgement (Philippians 1:9)
Would to God ye could bear with me a little in my folly, and indeed bear with me. For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy, for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. But I fear; lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtlety so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit; which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.' (2 Corinthians 11:1-4)
And [Jesus] saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? (Mark 8:29)
"Brother, I'm not interested in any of your divisive doctrinal talk. All I care about is knowing that a person loves Jesus. If someone tells me that, no matter what church he goes to, he's my brother in Christ!" It didn't seem like the right time or place to get into an argument with this individual. Nevertheless, I felt compelled at least to get a question in before the conversation ended. "When you talk with someone who tells you he loves Jesus, do you ever ask that person, 'Jesus who?"'
After quick thought the elderly gentleman let me know that he would never ask such a question. "It wouldn't be loving."
Whenever I visit friends in Pennsylvania, there is a man whom I make it a point to see. He is a joy to be with, one of the friendliest men I know. Though a committed Muslim, he regards himself as an ecumenist. He's proud of the fact that he shares some of the beliefs of both Jews and Christians. Occasionally he attends a Presbyterian church with my friends and truly enjoys the experience and their fellowship. Once, in a restaurant, he was expressing to me and our Christian friends his love for Jesus. He ended his proclamation with these words: "If I could tear away my flesh so that all of you could see deep into my heart, you would know how much I love Jesus." The emotions that filled his every word were stunning; it's uncommon to hear such a devout declaration, even in Christian circles.
Getting back to my boysenberry pie, I felt good about my friend's expression of love when a nagging thought hit me: 'Jesus who?' A brief mental skirmish took place over whether or not to ask such a question. My words, however, came out before my mind had settled the issue.
"Tell me about the Jesus you love." My Muslim friend didn't hesitate: "He's the same one you love." Before I got "doctrinal" with my friend, I thought I should try to show him why it was important to make sure we were talking about the same Jesus.
I used his neighbor, who is a great friend to both of us, as an example. He and I really love the guy. After agreeing on our mutual feelings, I began to give a description of our mutual friend's physical attributes: "He's 5' 6"; he's completely bald; he weighs 320 pounds; he wears a ring in his left nostril." Actually, I didn't get quite that far before objections were made. "Wait a minute... he's easily over 6' 4", I wish I had all his hair, and he's the thinnest man I know!" My friend added that it was obvious that we weren't talking about the same person.
"Does it matter?" I asked. He gave me an incredulous look. "Of course it does! I don't have a neighbor fitting your description. You may know someone else like that, but it's not my good friend and neighbor." I pointed out that if I truly believed the description I'd just given, then we couldn't possibly be friends with the same person. He agreed.
What followed was my description of the Jesus I knew. "He was crucified and died on the cross for my sins. Did the Jesus you know do that?"
"No, Allah took him to heaven before the crucifixion. Judas died on the cross."
"The Jesus I know is God himself, who became a man. Is that your Jesus?"
He shook his head. "No, Allah alone is God. Jesus was a great prophet, but just a man." The discussion went on to many other characteristics the Bible ascribes to Jesus. In almost every case, my Muslim friend had a different perspective. Though he remained convinced that he held the correct view, the fact that our contradictory convictions couldn't be reconciled seemed to dampen his zeal for proclaiming his love for Jesus.
Some may see my questioning as unloving - as proof of the divisiveness of arguing over doctrines. I see it as trying to clear the way for my friend to have a genuine relationship with the only true Savior, our Lord Jesus Christ--not someone he or other men have wittingly or unwittingly imagined or devised.
Quite simply, doctrines are teachings. They are either true or false. A true doctrine cannot be divisive in a harmful way; that characteristic applies only to false teachings. "Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them" (Romans 16:11 & 2:8-9). Jesus, who is the Truth, can only be known in truth and by those who seek the truth (John 14:6; 18:37; 2 Thessalonians 2:13: Deuteronomy 4:29). Christ himself caused division (Matthew 10:35; John 7:35; 9:16; 10:19) - division between truth and error (Luke 12:51).
"Jesus who?" is a pivotal question for every believer in Christ. We should first of all ask it of ourselves, testing our own beliefs about Jesus (2 Corinthians 13:5; 1 Thessalonians 5:21). Misunderstandings about Him inevitably become obstructions in our relationship with Him. The question also may be vital in our fellow-shipping with those who claim to be Christians. On a brief airline flight recently, a friend of mine was concerned enough to ask the person next to him some crucial questions about his relationship with Jesus. Although the young man professed to have been a Christian for four years or so and participated in a Christian fellowship for professional athletes, he didn't really know Jesus nor did he understand the gospel of salvation. My friend led him to the Lord before the plane landed.
All too often, phrases similar to "we stand together with anyone who names the name of Christ" are emotionally charged coverings for ecumenical agendas. The fear of destroying unity plagues those who take seriously such un-Biblical propaganda, even to the point of discouraging any vestige of interest in contending for the faith. Astonishingly, "Christian unity" now includes co-labouring for the moral good of society with cults "that name the name of Jesus."
The cults' teachings about Jesus include every unscriptural idea imaginable. The "Jesus Christ" of Latter-Day Saints, for example, couldn't be further removed from the Jesus of the Bible. The Jesus invented by Joseph Smith and after whom he named his church is the first spirit child of Elohim, just as all humans, angels, and demons are spirit children of Elohim. This Mormon Jesus became flesh through physical intercourse between Elohim (God the Father who has a physical body) and the Virgin Mary. Their Jesus is the half-brother of Lucifer. He came to earth to become a god. His sacrificial death gives immortality to every creature (including animals) at the Resurrection. However, whether an individual creature spends eternity in hell or in one of three heavens is totally up to his or her (or its) performance.
The Jesus Christ of the mind-science cults (Christian Science, Religious Science, Unity School of Christianity, etc.) is no different from any other human being. "Christ" is a spiritual idea of God and not a person. Jesus neither suffered nor died for mankind's sins because sin doesn't exist. Rather, he helped humanity to cease from believing that sin and death have any reality. That is "salvation" in so-called Christian Science. Jehovah's Witnesses also love Jesus, but not the Jesus of the Bible. Before their Jesus was born on earth he was Michael the Archangel. He is a god, but not Jehovah God. When their Jesus became a man he ceased to be a god. There was no physical resurrection of their Jesus; Jehovah raised his spirit body, hid his physical remains, and now, once again, Jesus exists as an angel called Michael. The Bible promises that when a believer in our Lord and Savior dies, he or she immediately goes to be with Jesus (2 Corinthians 5:8; Philippians 1:21-23). With their Jesus, however, only 144,000 Jehovah's Witnesses have that privilege--but not at death, for they are annihilated when they die. That is, they spend an indefinite period in an inactive and unconscious state, in effect, ceasing to exist. My fellowship of love with the Biblical Jesus, however, is unbroken and everlasting.
Roman Catholics love Jesus. I did for twenty-some years of my life, but he was very different from the Jesus I now know and love. Sometimes he was still a babe in arms or a young boy, overshadowed and protected by his mother. When I wanted his help I made sure I prayed to his mother first. The Jesus to whom I pray now hasn't been a baby for almost 2,000 years. The Jesus I loved as a Catholic resided bodily in a small, box-like tabernacle on our church altar in the form of a white wafer, while simultaneously inhabiting millions of pieces of bread worldwide. My Jesus is the (physically) resurrected Son of God; He doesn't indwell inanimate objects.
The Roman Catholic Jesus I knew was the Christ of the crucifix, his body continually hanging on the cross, fittingly symbolic of the perpetual sacrifice of the mass and his unfinished work of salvation. Nearly two millennia ago, the Biblical Jesus fully paid the debt for my sins. He has no need of the seven sacraments, the liturgy, the priesthood, the papacy, His mother's intercession, indulgences, prayers to and for the dead, purgatory, etc., to help save anyone. Roman Catholics who say they love Jesus, though they may call themselves charismatic Catholics, evangelical Catholics, or born-again Catholics, actually love a Jesus who is not the Biblical Jesus. He's "another Jesus."
Even some who claim to be evangelicals promote a different Jesus. The so-called faith-and-prosperity teachers promote a Jesus who was materially prosperous. According to evangelist John Avanzini, whose expensive wardrobe reflects his teachings, Jesus wore designer clothes (a reference to his seamless robe) similar to the attire of kings and wealthy merchants. In a convoluted argument, success preacher Robert Tilton claims that being poor is a sin, and since Jesus was sinless, it follows that he must have been extremely rich. Positive-confession teacher Fred Price explains that he drives a Rolls Royce simply because he's following the way of Jesus! Oral Roberts says that because Jesus and the disciples had a treasurer (Judas), they must have had plenty of money.
In addition to preaching a Christ who was materially wealthy, many of the faith teachers, such as Kenneth Hagin and Kenneth Copeland, proclaim a Jesus who descended into hell and had to be tortured by Satan in order to complete the atonement for the sins of mankind. That's not the Jesus I know and love.
Tony Campolo's Jesus indwells everyone. Television preacher Robert Schuller presents a Jesus who died on the cross to secure our self-esteem. In support of this Jesus, Christian psychologists and numerous evangelical preachers tell us that His death on the cross proves our infinite value to God and is the basis for our self-worth. Not only are a variety of ego-enhancing Jesus' being promoted today, but we're also being told by a psychologized "church" that the truth about Jesus may not be as important for our psychological well-being as our own perception of Him. That's the basis for the teaching by psycho-spiritual integrationist Neil Anderson and others who promote un-Biblical inner-healing techniques. We have to forgive Jesus for situations in the past where we feel He disappointed or wounded us emotionally. Jesus who?
Fellowship with Jesus is the heart of Christianity. It's not something merely imagined but is a reality. He literally indwells all who place their faith in Him as Lord and Savior (Colossians 1:27; John 14:20; 15:4). The relationship we have with Him is both subjective and objective. Our genuine personal experiences with Jesus are always in harmony with His objective Word (Isaiah 8:20). His Spirit ministers His Word to us and that knowledge is the foundation for our fellowship with Him (John 8:3; Philippians 3:8). Our love for Him is demonstrated by and increases through our obedience to His commandments; our trust in Him is strengthened through the knowledge of what He reveals about Himself (John 14:15; Philippians 1:9). Jesus said, "Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice" (John 18:37). To whatever degree we believers entertain false beliefs about Jesus and His teachings, we undermine our vital relationship with Him.
Nothing can be better on this earth than the joy of fellowship with Jesus and with those who know and are known by Him. On the other hand, nothing could be more tragic than the offering of one's affections to another Jesus, the invention of men and demons. Our Lord prophesied that many would fall prey to that great delusion just prior to His return (Matthew 24:23-26). There will be many who, because of the alleged signs and wonders they perform in His name, will convince themselves that they know Jesus and are serving Him. To them He will speak these sobering words: ' ... I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity" (Matthew 7:23). Rather than being divisive, asking the question "Jesus who?" may be the most loving service one can perform these days. The answer has eternal consequences.
Juan, this article is representative of the best of orthodox, evangelical, Christian apologetics and therefore also consistent with the attitude of 1 Peter 3v8-17. So that we have common ground based on the Only Begotten Saviour, we will happily discuss any points you may desire to raise from this material. Please do not just sit back and think we are in error and you can ignore what we have written. To believe anyone to be in error yet do nothing is very unloving - it is an act of love to point people towards the truth of the real Jesus.
In Jesus' Precious Name
Juan replies: 11th September 2008
Thank you for your response. I will certainly read what you gave me. I have studied history for seven years, with two years of post graduate work. I know the Protestant/Catholic arguments and I did not wish to quote scripture for we can throw scripture at each other for everything. Up to the 16th century, Christianity was Catholic and I do not buy the assertion that everything taught until then was "un-blibical." Escpecially when I am reading quotes of early Christians from the first century until now that the Eucharist is the body of Christ- well up until Calvan denied this. I trust Thomas Aquinas, Anthasius, and Augustine with 16th centuries of tradition based on bible reading rather than the past 500 years of new Christianity.
Anyway, thank you for the response and discussion. Discussions and not mad raving is good in these areas especially when dealing with the salvation of souls. I do not mind being told that I might be lacking in some regards for it makes me study even more. If you send me any other things I would appreciate that as well.
TCE replies: 19th September 2008
thank you for your response - which was the one we hoped for - an agreement to respond to the facts of history and Scripture and not ad hominem (personal) attacks or vitriolic and emotional outbursts (which you have no doubt witnessed, as we have!).
More than anything we would like to hear your defence, from a Roman Catholic viewpoint, of the difference between the Jesus of the Bible and the Jesus that has been presented to the world by the Roman Catholic Church for so many years. The outline of this difference was given in Tom McMahon's article: 'Jesus Who?' How would you defend your church on this crucially important matter?
The other matters you mention could be of interest, in time, as briefly outlined here (we have already dealt with these matters in some detail in mail to other enquirers):
You write: 'Up to the 16th century, Christianity was Catholic and ... do not buy the assertion that everything taught until then was "un-blibical."
We have never claimed that 'everything taught until then was "un-blibical" [sic]' but can easily prove from Scripture alone that Rome's doctrines are seriously astray from the Bible. Then, again, have you ever considered the groups that were massacred by Rome: perhaps you noticed our opening statement on our home page - 'We seek nothing less than a New and Thorough Reformation' - which hints strongly at our view of the Reformation and the work of Martin Luther et al. It was a reformation that did not go far enough!
Genuine Protestants, whose churches came from the Reformation, such as Anglicans, Lutherans and Presbyterians, also believe the myth that the Reformers rediscovered the Gospel when, in actual fact, the record shows that Wycliffe's Lollards, Waldo's Waldensians and Huss's Brethren never lost it and were persecuted, tortured, and killed by Rome and its off-shoots for daring to stand for the truth! We only have a very partial record of the early centuries of writings by genuine Christians and the surviving writings have been heavily filtered by Rome, but we have their records and the writings of the early 'church fathers'.
The Roman Catholic Church was in power for a full millennium and its Inquisition reached to the farthest corners of Europe and beyond. Rome did everything in its power to destroy the writings of those who differed from her interpretation. The Bible-believing Waldenses were Christians who lived in northern Italy, southern France, and elsewhere during the Dark Ages and were viciously persecuted by Rome for centuries. Though we know that the Waldenses have a history that begins in the 11th century, if not before, their historical record was almost completely destroyed by Rome. Only a handful of Waldensian writings were preserved from all of those centuries. Should we be surprised by this?
The New Testament Scriptures warn frequently that there would be an apostasy, a turning from the faith among professing Christians. The apostles and prophets warned that this apostasy had already begun in their day and warned that it would increase as the time of Christ's return draws nearer. Paul testified to this in many places, giving us a glimpse into the vicious assault that was already plaguing the work of God. Consider his last message to the pastors at Ephesus (Acts 20:29-30). Paul warned them that false teachers would come from without and would also arise from within their own ranks. His second epistle to Corinth (2 Cor. 11:1-4, 12-15) shows that the false teachers who were active at Corinth were corrupting three of the cardinal doctrines of the New Testament faith, the doctrine of Christ, Salvation, and the Holy Spirit; and the churches were in danger of being overthrown by these errors.
Consider Paul's warnings to Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:1-6 and 2 Timothy 3:1-13 and 4:3-4. Peter devoted the entire second chapter of his second epistle to this theme (2 Peter 2). He warned in verse one that there would be false teachers who hold "damnable heresies," i.e. heresies that damn the soul to eternal hell. Denial, for example, of the Virgin Birth, Deity, Humanity, Sinlessness, Eternality, Atonement, or Resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, means he cannot be saved. Heresies pertaining to such matters are therefore damnable heresies, for the corruption of the "doctrine of Christ" results in a "false christ" of the kind described in other people's version of the Biblical Jesus (cf. 'Jesus Who?') - and a Christ who cannot save!
John gave similar warnings in his epistles (1 John 2:18, 19, 22; 4:1-3; 2 John 7-11). In addressing the seven churches in Revelation 2-3, the Lord Jesus Christ warned that many of the apostolic churches were already weak and were under severe stress from heretical attacks (Rev. 2:6, 14-15, 20-24; 3:2, 15-17).
Thus the New Testament faith was being attacked on every hand in the days of the apostles by Gnosticism, Judaism, Nicolaitanism, and other heresies. And the apostles and prophets warned that this apostasy would increase, e.g. Paul wrote: "But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived" (2 Timothy 3:13). This describes the course of the church age in terms of the spread of heresy! Therefore it is not surprising to find doctrinal error rampant among the churches even in the early centuries.
This brings us to your other point: 'Escpecially [sic] when I am reading quotes of early Christians from the first century until now that the Eucharist is the body of Christ- well up until Calvan [sic] denied this. I trust Thomas Aquinas, Anthasius [sic], and Augustine with 16th centuries of tradition based on bible reading rather than the past 500 years of new Christianity.'
Is 'the past 500 years ... new Christianity'? Or is it truly 'Reformed' (reclaimed!), genuine, Christianity (allowing, as we have written, that we do not believe the 'Reformation' went far enough - which is why so many 'Protestant' denominations are slowly slipping into error, much of it through their Ecumenical unions)? Certainly, we are confident that we can defend our beliefs from the Bible alone ('Sola Scriptura'!), while the major aberrations of Rome are not found in the Bible!
Should you '... trust Thomas Aquinas, Anthasius [sic], and Augustine with 16th centuries of tradition based on bible reading rather than the past 500 years of new Christianity'? Well, we have already taken a good look at these 'Church Fathers'. Were they really genuine, 100% orthodox, Bible-believing Christians? Or were their writings already tainted with error and part of the heresies and errors that the apostles warned us about? Furthermore - and especially as your first mail stated: 'So much for loving your enemies' - what would you say of men who wrote so approvingly and recommended the killing of heretics (especially as the men, women, and children killed were so often less in error than these 'fathers')?
We will state up-front that we made a very thorough examination of these facts many years ago when we examined their works to see if the Mormons and Jehovah's Witnesses had any grounds for their claims that a 'complete' apostasy occurred soon after, or before, the deaths of the apostles. Our conclusion, as you can probably ascertain from the above, is that true Christians still existed - and have always existed - but Rome and its offshoots had gone very seriously astray, even persecuting and killing the real Christians. Sadly this despicable, un-Christian, behaviour was also often approved of by the men whose traditions (definitely not based on the New Testament!) you refer to approvingly.
We are still hoping you will make some comment on the 'Jesus Who?' article but, if this is not forthcoming, we can certainly supply you with some details from e-mails that we exchanged with Roman Catholics. Almost without exception, these were very brief exchanges because - without exception - when Catholics discovered we had told the truth they desperately back-tracked and withdrew from dialogue!
Again, we will wait to give you time to formulate a reply to our last mail.
We remain the recipients of the Lord Jesus Christ's unmerited grace and trust in His Unfailing Spirit to reach you across the vast oceans to lift you up and bless you mightily in His Love and Peace.
Juan replies: 22 September 2008
Thank you for your detailed response. I will read it and the original article sent and do a response. It is deep and I will get back to you as soon as possible.
===================================No further response from Juan!